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By NBF News
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Permanent Secretary in the Federal Civil Service, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar Kigo and Director, Chief Esai Dangabar were on Thursday sent to prison custody on the orders of an Abuja High Court for allegedly diverting N32.8 billion Police Pension fund into their private bank accounts.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned before the court on a 16-count criminal charge of conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and diversion of public funds along with four other top government functionaries in connection with the alleged fraud.

They include Alhaji Ahmed Inuwa Wada, John Yakuku Yusufu, Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula and Alhaji Habila Zira.

According to the anti-graft agency, the alleged offences are contrary to sections 97, 315 Penal code Act Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja Nigeria, 2007.

Although the accused persons who where wearing gloomy faces pleaded not guilty to the offences, their oral bail applications were rejected by Justice Abubakar Talba, who agreed with the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs that they must come formally in writing, giving the nature and gravity of the alleged offence.

It was Chief Solomon Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), who started the moves to secure their bail when he orally asked for the release of the first accused person, Chief Esai Dangabar pending trial. However, Justice Talba insisted that all bail applications must be in writing.

Awomolo was further bruised when his request for his client be remanded in the custody of the EFCC was turned down by the court, which opted for prison custody till Wednesday when their formal application for bail would be heard.

Justice Talba also explained that EFCC custody was not a holding place for an accused person already brought to court.

The charges showed that the accused persons being public officers in the service of the government of the federation diverted N14, 518,567,724 being part of police pension from an account domiciled at First Bank Plc, between January 2009 and June 2011 in Abuja.

According the accused persons, at one instance they carried out an illegal act amounting to the tune of N14.5billion, thereby committed an offence punishable under section 97 of the Penal code Act cap 532, laws of the FCT, Abuja, Nigeria 2007.

Kigo and others were also alleged to have converted certain property worth N8.9billion belonging to the police pension fund thereby committed an offence punishable under section 309 of the Penal code Act.

Other monies allegedly stolen by the accused person include, N8.9billion (December 2009), N4.7billion, (January 2010 and February 2011), N858million (January 2012 and February 2011) and N656million (31January, 2011).

Also allegedly stolen by the accused person are N462million (March 24, 2009); N407million (December 14, 2010); N400million (December 30, 2010); N18million (February, 2011 and June, 2011); N14.5million (January 2009 and June 2011); N4.7billion (January 2010 and February, 2011), as well as N858million (February 2011 and June 2011).

The substantive matter is fixed for April 25, 2012 for hearing.